Lily Allen’s music video for her new single “Hard Out Here” sparked the ire of critics who believe that she’s sending a racist message – inadvertently or not. Allen, not one to cower to her detractors, has firmly defended the music video and its message.

For context, Lily Allen’s music video for “Hard Out Here.”

The lyrics to "Hard Out Here" have the dominating theme of the objectification of women, particularly in entertainment – but all over. “Don't you want to have somebody who objectifies you?” goes one verse. “Have you thought about your butt? Who's gonna [expletive]? We've never had it so good, uh-huh, we're out of the woods. And if you can't detect the sarcasm, you've misunderstood.”


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In the music video, Allen begins under the harsh lighting of an operating room, as she’s about to undergo surgery to make herself more aesthetically pleasing – presumably to the male gaze. Much of the video is spent with Allen and a troupe of scantily clad dancers dancing around a car. Backsides are shaken, twerked and slapped. Among the six dancers, four are black and two are white. Grounds for charges of racism? Some say so.

“The video is meant to be a critique and satire of popular culture and manages some deserved jabs at Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” videos among others, but in the end it just reduces itself down to elevating Lily Allen’s white female body,” read a post on the Black in Asia Tumblr, that was reblogged and agreed with by Jezebel. “And objectifying and utterly denigrating those of the black female dancers she deliberately surrounds herself with from start to finish.”

Lily Allen Responds To Critics

Allen responded to her critics with a an outline titled “Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions,” posted through Twitlonger. In the post, Allen rejects the idea that she targeted specific ethnicities for the video, and reiterates what she had been trying to make – “a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture.” After explaining that she too had attempted to twerk and covered herself up due to her own body issues, Allen made it clear she was not apologizing.

“I'm not going to apologise because I think that would imply that I’m guilty of something, but I promise you this, in no way do I feel superior to anyone, except paedophiles, rapists murderers etc.,” the singer wrote. “And I would not only be surprised but deeply saddened if I thought anyone came away from that video feeling taken advantage of,or compromised in any way.”

– Chelsea Regan

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